|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2005-02-14                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [SL]
Feb. 14, 2005
TPWD Preparing for 4th Crab Trap Cleanup
AUSTIN, Texas -- Hoping to add to the pile of more than 15,000 lost and abandoned crab traps hauled from Texas bays during the last three years, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials are gearing up for another round of cleanups, and this time the closed season is from Feb. 18-27. Weather-permitting, Feb. 19 is the day for the main volunteer cleanup effort.
Volunteers are needed to assist in the coast-wide effort to remove the many thousands of wire-mesh cages that have been lost or abandoned since last year's cleanup. During the efforts of the past three years, traps just from San Antonio Bay and Galveston Bay have accounted for more than 10,000 of the traps collected along the coast.
Prior to the 77th Legislature of Texas authorizing an abandoned crab-trap removal program, only the trap's owner or a TPWD game warden could legally remove a crab trap.
TPWD will be facilitating the volunteer trap removal efforts on Feb. 19 at 16 locations coast-wide. In case of inclement weather, the event will be postponed until the next available weekend day, but cannot occur after Feb. 27. Last year, volunteers with the aid of numerous sponsors removed more than 3,500 traps.
"This program is a strong indication of the wonderful resource conservation ethics that the public has about protecting Texas' bays and estuaries," said Art Morris, TPWD program coordinator. "With this years' joint efforts with Louisiana in Sabine Lake and volunteer and sponsor participation shaping up to be as big as years past, we should have a great cleanup. But we still need all the volunteers we can get, especially in Galveston, Matagorda and San Antonio Bays."
The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Texas secured $29,000 through the FishAmerica Foundation for this year's crab trap cleanup event. In addition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Cecil M. Hopper Museum, and Anheuser-Busch are providing grants for the crab trap removal program. And even more help is coming from the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, Regional Steel, Best Manufacturing, Gander Mountain, HEB, and numerous organizations and companies like CCA, SCA Texas, SALT, and others.
Morris noted that individuals who do cleanups on days other than TPWD facilitated cleanup dates will have to make their own arrangements for trap disposal but can contact a local coordinator for assistance.
Following is a site list of TPWD staffed locations where traps can be dropped off during the cleanup. Each site will be manned by TPWD staff from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Disposal facilities will be provided at each site on the day of the cleanup. For those who choose to work on their own, TPWD requests information about the number of traps that they collect.
To volunteer or for more information, contact one of the regional coordinators Art Morris in Corpus Christi at (361) 825-3356 or Bobby Miller in Dickinson at (281) 534-0110.
Crab Trap Cleanup Collection Sites
Aransas Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator Karen Meador, (361) 729-2328
--Goose Island State Park -- Rockport
Corpus Christi Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator Paul Choucair, (361) 729-2328
--Conn Brown Harbor -- Aransas Pass
Galveston Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator Rebecca Hensley (281) 534-0108
Trinity Bay -- Fort Anahuac Park
--Galveston Bay/Jones Lake -- Fat Boy's State Ramp off I-45
--Christmas Bay -- Ernie's II (Sy's) Ramp, Chocolate Bayou Ramp FM 2004
Lower Laguna Madre -- Local TPWD coordinator Randy Blankinship (956) 350-4490
--Adolfe Thomae County Park-Arroyo City
--Port Mansfield Navigation District Ramp-Port Mansfield.
Matagorda Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator Bill Balboa (361) 972-6253
--Matagorda Harbor Boat Ramp - Matagorda
--Railroad Park Public Ramp - Palacios
Sabine Lake -- Local TPWD coordinator Jerry Mambretti (409) 983-1104
--Walter Umphrey State Park (Mesquite Point) on Pleasure Island-Port Arthur
--S.A.L.T. Clubhouse on Pleasure Island - Port Arthur
San Antonio Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator Norman Boyd (361) 983-4425
--Charlie's Bait Stand -- Seadrift
--Port O'Conner TPWD dock
Upper Laguna Madre -- Local TPWD coordinator Kyle Spiller (361) 825-3353
--Bluff Landing Boat Ramp - Corpus Christi
--Kaufer Park Boat Ramp -- Baffin Bay -- Riviera Beach

[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [RM]
Feb. 14, 2005
Critical Land Acquired for Government Canyon State Natural Area
SAN ANTONIO -- The recent acquisition of 421 acres of significant endangered-species land increases the total acreage of the Government Canyon State Natural Area in San Antonio to 8,622 acres.
The acquisition, announced Feb. 3 by The Trust for Public Land, is part of a 12-year effort by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, local agencies, residents and conservation groups to protect land located over the Edwards Aquifer, which is the primary source of drinking water for the City of San Antonio. Government Canyon provides a remarkable recreation destination for area-residents and is scheduled to open on June 4.
The property, known as Canyon Ranch, is crucial to the completion of the state natural area because it is situated between two properties previously acquired by TPL. The property is also extremely important for the protection of nine federally-listed endangered invertebrate species, including three small eyeless beetles, a small eyeless harvestman, and five other small spiders, including the Madla's cave spider.
"TPL is pleased to be a partner in the effort to preserve Canyon Ranch," said Amy Wanamaker, TPL project manager. "It is a treasure-trove of native plants and wildlife."
Approximately 70 percent of the property will be owned by TPWD. The City of San Antonio and the San Antonio Water System will each own 15 percent of the property. TPWD will manage the 421-acre site.
"This is an example of how working together we can do great conservation projects for the people of Texas that we could not have achieved alone," said Walt Dabney, TPWD's director of state parks. "It is one more component of a longstanding partnership between TPWD and TPL in the conservation of urban-fringe landscapes and high-value habitat in San Antonio."
TPWD applied for and secured a $3.5 million U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Grant that included a funding match from the City of San Antonio and SAWS. The local funding came through the City of San Antonio's Proposition 3 Program that authorized a 1/8 cent sales tax increment to locate and purchase undeveloped land in the Edwards Aquifer's recharge and contributing zones as a means of protecting the aquifer from pollution.
"We are appreciative to all of the folks that have worked so hard to make this happen," said Bob Pine, administrator for the Austin Ecological Services Field Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Preserving Canyon Ranch will not only safeguard the Edwards Aquifer, but also will help a number of endangered species."
U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn and U.S. Representatives Henry Bonilla and Pete Sessions were extremely supportive of the federal grant.
This acquisition is also part of the Edwards Aquifer Land Acquisition and Park Expansion Program for permanent protection of the city's drinking water. TPL has pursued projects associated within the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone since 1990, protecting more than 11,500 acres over the Aquifer.
"We are so delighted to have acquired this property to protect the Edwards Aquifer," said former San Antonio City Council member Bonnie Conner, who represents District 4 as a member of the Edwards Aquifer Authority Board of Directors. "This is a significant accomplishment made possible by the citizens of San Antonio through their vote in 2000."
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [KD]
Feb. 14, 2005
Old Tunnel Bat Volunteers Needed
FREDERICKSBURG, Texas -- Central Texans who want to learn more about bats and help teach others about these creatures of the night are being urged to volunteer at Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The former railroad tunnel, now a state Wildlife Management Area, offers evening bat flight viewings for visitors during warmer months.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is now recruiting volunteers to help at the Old Tunnel WMA, located between Fredericksburg and Comfort on Old San Antonio Road.
About three million Mexican free-tailed bats and thousands of Cave myotis bats inhabit the Old Tunnel WMA.
Volunteers can choose from a variety of activities to help with, such as teaching visitors about bats, giving presentations about the history of the Old Tunnel, helping with merchandise sales, or just helping to keep the trails and public areas looking nice. Volunteers can also participate in plant and animal surveys, build trails, or work in local schools to teach children about the interesting life history of bats.
The Volunteer Program is open to those of all ages and skill levels. Current volunteers range in age from 5-75 and training is provided. Volunteers can commit to helping as much or as little as they want. Some volunteer as individuals, while others volunteer as a family. A wide variety of volunteer activities are available for kids and adults, and specialized training is provided for both.
If you are interested in joining the fun and the growing Old Tunnel Volunteer Program, you are encouraged to attend the upcoming Volunteer Training Feb. 25-27 in Mason. During a relaxing and informative weekend, you will learn about bats, how to teach people about bats, and much more!
In addition to nightly bat-viewing, educational presentations are offered Thursday through Sunday from May 1 through Oct. 31.
For more information about volunteering and to sign up for the volunteer training program, please contact Amy Sugeno at Old Tunnel WMA at (830) 990-2659.

[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [SL]
Feb. 14, 2005
Surveys Say More Anglers, More Fish on Texas Coast
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department surveys confirm what most saltwater anglers already know: the fishing along the Texas coast is getting better and more anglers are taking advantage of it.
About 2,000 new anglers per month on average are discovering Texas coastal fishing, based on saltwater fishing license sales during the last seven years. The economic impact of saltwater angling in Texas exceeds $1.3 billion dollars annually and provides more than 13,000 jobs, according to TPWD research.
"There are indications that this trend will continue," stated Larry McKinney, Ph.D. and TPWD coastal fisheries director. "The popularity of center-console bay boats continues to increase as does the use of kayaks and the continued increase in the sale of saltwater tackle."
The amount of time anglers spend plying Texas coastal waters is staggering. In the 2003-04 season, according to TPWD creel surveys, anglers spent 5.27 million hours fishing on the Texas coast.
Not only are there more anglers but they are catching more fish. Landings of the two most popular gamefish, spotted seatrout and red drum, increased coastwide in 2003-04 by 11 percent and 31 percent, respectively. Galveston Bay (24 percent) and the Lower Laguna Madre (33 percent) showed the greatest increases while Aransas and Corpus Christi Bays declined slightly. However, Aransas Bay saw a spectacular increase in red drum landings with an increase of 76 percent. Other bays showed significant increases as well: Upper Laguna Madre (57 percent), Lower Laguna Madre (40 percent) and San Antonio Bay (45 percent). Only Galveston Bay showed a decrease in red drum landings.
"These year-to-year fluctuations show the power of having good monitoring programs that can track annual changes down to the bay system level," said Robin Riechers, science and policy director for TPWD's Coastal Fisheries Division. "But the real value is when you start to link up the data to look at long-term trends."
The long-term trend in the recreational catch data along with the TPWD resource monitoring data allows TPWD to monitor and track fish populations along the entire coast as well as in each bay system.
Texas anglers have also become more efficient as well. Catch rates (the number of fish caught per hour of effort) for all species combined increased by four percent from .27 fish per hour in 2002-03 to .28 fish per hour in 2003-04. When the statistics for gamefish are examined separately, spotted seatrout saw an increase in catch rate of nine percent and red drum a spectacular increase of 33 percent.
"Even with the increased numbers and pressure, our populations of gamefish, especially red drum and spotted seatrout, remain strong and healthy," concluded McKinney. "We face challenges in two areas to continue this success. One is assuring that the quality of the fishing experience continues in the face of issues like access and allocation of resources among users. The second is assuring the water quality of our estuarine waters and that freshwater inflows into them are adequate to maintain their health and productivity."

[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [KD]
Feb. 14, 2005
Land Trust Conference Set for Feb. 24-26 in Austin
AUSTIN, Texas - At a population of 20 million and growing, Texans are building more roads, buildings and houses and as land disappears, open lands preservation and wildlife habitat conservation become increasingly important.
In recent years, Texas land trust organizations have fought to conserve more than a million acres of land throughout Texas. To help ensure that this legacy continues, the 2005 Statewide Land Trust Conference, which takes place here Feb. 24-26, will facilitate discussion about critical issues facing these organizations and their conservation efforts.
Common Ground: Conserving Texas Forever is hosted by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Land Trust Council. The conference begins with an all-day intensive workshop on strategic business planning led by nationally renowned land trust and non-profit organizational consultant Marc Smiley. Smiley will also host a plenary on the future of non-profit land trust organizations and their role in long-term conservation.
"Never has it been more important to look at the sustainability of these organizations and their work," said Robert L. Cook, TPWD executive director. "Particularly in Texas, there is an increasing need for individuals, non-profits, governments, and others to work collaboratively to assure that resources (water, air, land, wildlife, etc.) meet the needs of a growing and diverse population."
Carolyn Vogel, Texas Land Trust program coordinator at TPWD, said that the attendees would hear a "living room" conversation with land trust movement leaders and then choose from 15 workshops about how to increase their land conservation effectiveness.
There will be a 'Conservation Success Stories' session on the final day, as well as an expanded conservation economics lesson, a popular event at the 2004 conference.
"We Texans are proud of our rivers and streams, farms and their produce, parks and islands of urban green, back country roads, a view 'as far as the eye can see,' a heritage of taking care of our lands," Vogel said. "Today we are faced with challenges to maintaining and sustaining this heritage. Organizations composed of local citizens concerned about this way of life understand that conservation is a business: the business of providing for the future health of the planet."
The conference will be at the Marriott - Austin Airport South. Registration is $115. Continuing education units for attorneys, appraisers and range managers are available. To register or request more information, contact Carolyn Vogel at (512) 389-4779.

[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [KE]
Feb. 14, 2005
Stay Tuned
Information from Texas Parks and Wildlife is available on radio and television, as well as the newsstand.
Passport to Texas, TPWD's radio series of weekday, 90-second stories is broadcast on more than 100 Texas stations. Airing the week of Feb. 14-21, visitors are seeing double at one state history site. Plus, we will tell you about a university mascot with a historic degree of its own. (We'll give you a hint: it's not a longhorn).
For more information, visit the Web.
Video News
TPWD provides video news reports that run in newscasts on numerous Texas stations, as well as on cable and satellite outlets around the nation.
For more information, go to the Web.
"Texas Parks & Wildlife" is a weekly half-hour television series seen on PBS affiliates around the state.
For more information about this week's programs and where they can be viewed, visit the Web.
Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine is always available on newsstands throughout the state and by subscription for $19.95 a year. To subscribe, call (800) 937-9393 or order online.
On the Net:
Passport to Texas: http://www.passporttotexas.org/
TPWD Video News: http://tpwd.texas.gov/news/tv/vnr/thismonth/
TPWD on PBS: http://tpwd.texas.gov/tv
TPW Magazine: http://www.tpwmagazine.com/